Can we call them “Socialists” yet?

January 19, 2012

Harking back to some of the worst excesses of the New Deal, six Democratic members of the House lead by Denis Kucinich (D-UFO) and all but one members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have proposed an additional tax on oil companies to be levied when profits rise above “a reasonable level”:

The Democrats, worried about higher gas prices, want to set up a board that would apply a “windfall profit tax” as high as 100 percent on the sale of oil and gas, according to their legislation. The bill provides no specific guidance for how the board would determine what constitutes a reasonable profit.

The Gas Price Spike Act, H.R. 3784 (PDF), would apply a windfall tax on the sale of oil and gas that ranges from 50 percent to 100 percent on all surplus earnings exceeding “a reasonable profit.” It would set up a Reasonable Profits Board made up of three presidential nominees that will serve three-year terms. Unlike other bills setting up advisory boards, the Reasonable Profits Board would not be made up of any nominees from Congress.

The bill would also seem to exclude industry representatives from the board, as it says members “shall have no financial interests in any of the businesses for which reasonable profits are determined by the Board.”

And, of course, “reasonable” would be in the eye of the beholder: in this case, appointees of Barack Obama, renowned class warrior and Socialist. What could go wrong?

Of course, this isn’t about the economic ignorance of the members sponsoring the bill; they’re leftist Democrats, progressives. It’s practically an unwritten law that you have to give up any understanding of basic economics to join that club. The idea that these profits can be returned to shareholders, including pension funds and individual middle-class Americans, many on retirement, via dividends and capital gains is immaterial. And don’t even think of suggesting that these oh so unreasonable profits could be used to expand the business or explore for more oil –or both!– thus creating jobs.

Like I said, to join the club, you have to forswear any economic common sense.

No, this bill, which will never pass the House or even get out of committee, is nothing more than an election year appeal to the worst of Americans populist instincts: class warfare, punishing those “evil” oil companies, and looking for a scapegoat for high gas prices rather than understanding the Law of Supply and Demand. Oh, and already-high federal, state, and local taxes.

It’s all about pandering to people’s frustrations, so they won’t blame the real cause: the radical and against-all-reason natural resources policies of the Democrats and their environmentalist allies that keep us from developing the vast resources we have.

It’s the political equivalent of “Look! It’s Elvis!”

But, let us not forget, it’s also about control and power. These are, after all, progressives, social democrats. Some are full-blown Socialists. It’s their belief that only government can fairly (in their definition, again) distribute wealth. They may not be Marxist, and are thus willing to allow the shareholders to still own their companies, but government has first call on “your” money, to do with what it will. You can keep whatever they decide is reasonable.

Which is why I put “your” in quotes.

In their world, you are not a free citizen with unalienable rights, but a dependent who must wait to see how much of what you earn government will let you keep.

So, while this bill may be a bit of populist red meat that will never pass, it has a very real and very pernicious-to-liberty philosophy behind it.

And it’s another example why the Democrats should never win another election again.

via Jammie Wearing Fool

RELATED: Pirate’s Cove has suggestions for other “reasonable boards.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Not that I can afford a Mercedes-Benz…

January 12, 2012

But, after this, slap me if I ever do try to buy one:

“Some colleagues still think that car-sharing borders on communism,” Mercedes-Benz Chairman of the Board of Management Dieter Zetsche said onstage at CES today, speaking about Mercedes’ new CarTogether initiative. “But if that’s the case, viva la revolucion!”

To be sure, a luxury-car maker like Mercedes is not actually promoting communism. But during his CES talk, Zetsche pushed hard on a vision that the company has for a greener future that allows drivers to reduce emissions by using connected and social technology to easily find compatible passengers to share rides with.

Still, it’s odd–and no doubt intended to stir up conversation–to hear a company so inexorably tied to money and lavish lifestyles invoking philosophies like communism. Especially with a picture of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara towering over Zetsche as he talked. Of course, Che’s signature beret sported a Mercedes logo.

What’s next? VW embracing its past as the “People’s Car” and using Hitler in its ad campaigns?

I could go on a rant about stupid people treating murderous tyrants such as Che Guevara as trendy fads (the ubiquitous t-shirts come to mind), but two writers have already done a fine job of showing why this is not only mind-numbingly stupid, but a nauseating insult to Che’s victims. First, Michael Gonzalez at The Huffington Post, quoting Guevara’s own words:

Hatred is the central element of our struggle! Hatred that is intransigent…hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him violent and cold- blooded killing machine…We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow! The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! These hyenas are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!

Then Humberto Fontova at Big Peace, who’s often written of Che’s murderous sociopathy:

“When you saw the beaming look on Che’s face as the victims were tied to the stake and blasted apart by the firing squad,” said a former Cuban political prisoner Roberto Martin-Perez, to your humble servant here, “you saw there was something seriously, seriously wrong with Che Guevara.” As commander of the La Cabana execution yard, Che often shattered the skull of the condemned man (or boy) by firing the coup de grace himself. When other duties tore him away from his beloved execution yard, he consoled himself by viewing the slaughter. Che’s second-story office in Havana’s La Cabana prison had a section of wall torn out so he could watch his darling firing-squads at work.

Even as a youth, Ernesto Guevara’s writings revealed a serious mental illness. “My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any vencido that falls in my hands!” This passage is from Ernesto Guevara’s famous Motorcycle Diaries, though Robert Redford somehow overlooked it while directing his heart-warming movie.

Guevara was also a rabid racist (see the Gonzalez link) and set in motion plans for a mass terror-bombing of Manhattan in November, 1962, a plot foiled by the FBI.

And this is the figurehead for the new Mercedes-Benz campaign.

Now, I could write something about how this shouldn’t be surprising, because MB is a German company that collaborated with the Nazis, and Naziism was form of Fascism, and Fascism is a product of the Left, as is Communism, so by extension it’s only natural that a Mercedes-Benz executive would feel drawn to Che Guevara, but that would be leaping to conclusions. (1)

It’s much more likely that Herr Zetsche is simply crass, ignorant, and stupid.

But I still wouldn’t buy his cars.

via Dan Mitchell

Footnote:
(1) Perhaps. Maybe.

UPDATE: Fontova on Mercedes-Benz and Che.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The forgotten lesson of Thanksgiving

November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day, everyone.

I remember in grammar school we used to be taught the “lessons of Thanksgiving,” including such wonderful things as sharing and gratitude. It seems one lesson never gets taught, though, and so reporter John Stossel wrote to remind us of it in this 2010 article:

Had today’s political class been in power in 1623, tomorrow’s holiday would have been called “Starvation Day” instead of Thanksgiving. Of course, most of us wouldn’t be alive to celebrate it.

Every year around this time, schoolchildren are taught about that wonderful day when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared the fruits of the harvest. But the first Thanksgiving in 1623 almost didn’t happen.

Long before the failure of modern socialism, the earliest European settlers gave us a dramatic demonstration of the fatal flaws of collectivism. Unfortunately, few Americans today know it.

The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share the work and produce equally.

That’s why they nearly all starved.

They nearly starved because too few people were willing to work hard to make the land productive enough to feed everyone, knowing they could still draw from the communal pot regardless of their (lack of) effort. Hence, not enough food was produced and the Colony nearly died.

But it didn’t. Having seen the failure of communalism and a planned economy, the colony’s leaders decided to divide the land into plots of private property and make each family responsible for their own livelihood. The results, as reported by Governor Bradford were amazing:

“This had very good success,” Bradford wrote, “for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many.”

In other words, private property and a free market made prosperity possible, while Socialism nearly got everyone killed.

Read the rest before you settle down to turkey and football (and the inevitable food coma), and let’s keep this forgotten lesson in mind.

Enjoy the day, folks!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


“Red” Jan Schakowsky: “You don’t deserve to keep all of your money”

September 14, 2011

I’ll give Comrade Congresswoman Schakowsky this much: she’s at least honest, although I’m sure it wasn’t intentional. On the Don Wade & Roma Show on WLS-AM this morning, the host tried to tie her down on the question of how high the tax rate should be:

“I think you need to pay your fair share for things we’ve decided are our national priorities,” Schakowsky added.

Host: So Jan Schakowsky, out of every dollar that I earn, how much do you think I deserve to keep?

Schakowsky: What is really your question here? Do you think you should not contribute to firefighters?

Host: No, no, it’s a very simple question. Out of every dollar I earn, how much do you, Jan Schakowsky, think I deserve to keep?

Schakowsky: No, it’s not a simple question. No, it is not a simple question. I’ll put it this way. You don’t deserve to keep all of it.

Host: Why?

Schakowsky: It’s not a question of deserving. What government is, is those things we decide to do together.

That last line is probably garbled. I think she meant to say:

“…those things we, your betters who are so much wiser than you, decide you want.”

However, the congresswoman committed the cardinal sin of modern American Socialism: she forgot to be stealthy about her intentions. Having failed to provoke revolution in the 60s and early 70s, mainstream American Socialism coalesced around the idea that it was better to disguise their true intentions behind the honeyed words of “communitarianism” and “shared values,” while working for incremental, instead of revolutionary change. They were supposed to be open just amongst themselves, at conferences only they paid attention to and journals only they read. (Because they’re too turgid and abstruse for most folks. And bloody dull.) But Schakowski, an open member of the Democratic Socialists of America, probably forgot she wasn’t on wholly safe ground.

Shouldn’t blame her too much, though. Even her party leader couldn’t hide his inner Socialist completely.

Remember, your money is not your property, peasant. It is at the service of the State.

SEE ALSO: Big Government and Power Line.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Unexpected! ObamaCare makes healthcare *more* expensive faster!

July 28, 2011

Well color me shocked. Who would’ve guessed that a badly-crafted 2,000-page bill that no one read and was rushed through the night and is just chock-full of new regulations, bureaucracies, and mandates would actually bend the cost-curve up?

Anyone with a lick of sense, I guess, which lets out the Democratic Party, their Leftist supporters, and the fawning media. (But I repeat myself.)

From The Washington Times:

Despite President Obama’s promises to rein in health care costs as part of his reform bill, health spending nationwide is expected to rise more than if the sweeping legislation had never become law.

Total spending is projected to grow annually by 5.8 percent under Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, according to a 10-year forecast by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released Thursday. Without the ACA, spending would grow at a slightly slower rate of 5.7 percent annually.

CMS officials attributed the growth to an expansion of the insured population. Under the plan, an estimated 23 million Americans are expected to obtain insurance in 2014, largely through state-based exchanges and expanded Medicaid eligibility.

The federal government is projected to spend 20 percent more on Medicaid, while spending on private health insurance is expected to rise by 9.4 percent.

A tenth of a percent is not small change, when we’re talking about the scale of healthcare spending in the US. Moreover, we were told that implementing ObamaCare was essential to bending the cost-curve down. Not even, not up.

So, then, what was the point? The only thing accomplished is greater government control over and regulation of a crucial sector of our economy, which will only lead to a nationalized, Socialized single-payer system.

Oh, wait. That is the point!

No matter what it costs the rest of us.

via Hot Air, which has the White House rebuttal.

LINKS: Pirate’s Cove notes that ObamaCare cost more than doing nothing. Fancy that.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama: Your “unneeded money” belongs to the government

July 13, 2011

And “unneeded,” of course, is defined by Obama. Historian John Steele Gordon noticed this appalling assertion during the President’s news conference two days ago:

And I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am asked to do nothing, in fact, I’m able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans.

(Emphasis added.)

That is just awful. I’m surprised he wasn’t wearing a red “Che” shirt.

Gordon scores a quick TKO when exposes Obama’s economic folly. Here are the key paragraphs, but do read the whole thing:

There is, of course, nothing whatever stopping Barack Obama, taxpaying citizen, from donating his excess income to the United States Treasury. But his statement demonstrates an astonishing economic illiteracy. To be sure, someone earning a great deal of money has an income greater than what he spends. You can only spend so much on luxurious living however hard you try, a reality so rich with comic possibilities that a 1902 novel called  Brewster’s Millions has been made into a movie no fewer than nine times.

But, unlike Scrooge McDuck, the rich do not put the excess in a vast money bin and frolic about in it. They invest it. What a concept! Where does Obama think new capital comes from, the tooth fairy? It’s nothing more than the excess of income over outgo. Take away the income the rich “don’t need” and spend it on social programs, and capital formation in this country drops to zero.

Along with economic growth, productive new jobs, and a growing middle class. All in the name of a childish, envy-based definition of “fairness.”

But it’s not just revealing of the President’s boneheadedness in economics; it’s also a probably unintentional reminder of his true politics, which are deeply rooted in New York and Chicago’s Socialist communities. This is another “spread the wealth” moment that shows Obama is much more concerned with redistribution than with wealth-creation and that government is the proper vehicle for arranging that redistribution. It fits like a glove with the Progressive notion that boards of government experts are better able to decide how an individual will run his life than is the individual himself, and that includes how to dispose of his own money. And as one’s money is one’s property, it strikes at the very idea of property rights.

And it’s not just “excess money.” If the government can say how much money you don’t need, why not for other forms of property, too? If I have enough money to buy a truck to go with my small car, can Obama say I really don’t need it, and thus take it and give it to someone “in need” out of fairness? What about land? If I own two acres of land and someone less successful has none, can the government take half of mine and give it to the other guy, so we’re both equal? (Hello, Kelo)

Thus we come back to Obama’s “additional income I don’t need.” The income is no longer mine to dispose of as I wish, it is the government’s first and it is the government that decides what I am allowed to keep. This point of view necessarily entails a fundamental denial of individual liberty, of which property rights are a cornerstone, and turns the freeborn citizen into a creature of the State.

Every four years, it seems, we hear “this is the most important election of our lives.” In 2012, I think that may well be true.

PS: I don’t have a problem with government taking money in taxes to fund its necessary and proper functions, though folks can argue about just what those are. But the view held by Obama and the DSA crowd that dominates the Democratic Party in Congress is an utter inversion of everything we were founded on and needs to be called out for what it is — Statism.

PPS: I like Scrooge McDuck.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What is Socialism?

May 26, 2011

That is, aside from a really bad idea?

Nick Gillespie of Reason.TV sat down with Kevin Williamson, National Review editor and author of the recent “Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism,” to discuss why so many people favor a system that gave us the most monstrous dictators of history, and how it relates to the modern regulatory and welfare states.

I think you’ll find it interesting:

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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